The Bridge, which serves between 60 and 70 people a free three course meal each week was founded in 2009 by a group of volunteers from St Mary Magdalene Church and Gorleston Baptist Church. Its mission is to provide a free hot meal once a week to unwaged, vulnerable or elderly residents in our community, to reduce social isolation, to encourage participation as a volunteer and increase uptake of support agencies and community involvement.
Carl, a client at The Bridge, said:
“I first came to The Bridge for food and support with my housing. I’ve been coming for a year and I’ve now got somewhere to live. I come every week for food and some company… it provides somewhere to go… escape from where you are.”
The anniversary was marked by a special thanksgiving service at St Mary Magdalene on Tuesday 24th September at which the Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, the Bishop of Lynn gave a short address. The service was attended by current clients and volunteers alongside a number of special guests including the Mayor and Mayoress of Great Yarmouth, Borough Councilors Brian and Colleen Walker, as well as some of those who were involved when The Bridge launched in 2009.
Bishop Jonathan, who concluded his address by singing an excerpt from the Bee Gees song, Words, which includes the line ‘Smile an everlasting smile’ said “it is clear that The Bridge is a community that brings a smile to people.”
After the service the invited guests joined clients for lunch served by Bishop Jonathan alongside Rev Matthew Price, the minister of St Mary Magdalene Church, and the regular volunteers. Bishop Jonathan also joined Paul, one of the clients, and volunteer chef, Maggie, in cutting a celebration cake to mark the occasion.
Louise Bullen, who is employed by St Mary Magdalene Church as The Bridge Project Manager, commented:
“One of the great things about The Bridge is the team of volunteers which make everything happen each week… the Bridge really is a community of people that come together and people are encouraged both to use the skills that they have got and to grow more!”
Rev Matthew Price said:
“At St Mary Magdalene we are committed to seeking the peace and prosperity of the community in which we live and The Bridge is a really important part of that. I pray that, into the future, the Bridge will continue to be a place where people can flourish and which blesses the community in which we live.”